The identities of the 24 players who will represent the USARL Pioneers against Leeds Rhinos on January 18 in Florida has been confirmed.
The squad will assemble in Jacksonville on January 10, ahead of the game against Leeds on January 18.
All 24 players will participate in the game, with Leeds also expected to use all 25 of their squad, with unlimited interchange in operation.
The Pioneers squad consists of players who have not yet played international rugby, but have shown toughness, fitness and the mental aptitude to be able to handle a higher level of competition.
“The concept of the Pioneers is to give all players across the USARL a chance to help develop the sport, while creating great relationships with other teams and players,” said USARL director Spinner Howland.
“We had over 50 players express interest to be a part of this game, so cutting it down to less than half was tough based on the principle of the Pioneers concept, and I can tell you there are some very good and equally talented players who we couldn’t include.
“But after conversations with all the teams coaches, players own ability to travel to Jacksonville, trying to get as many teams as possible represented, and ensuring each player had enough skill and was physically ready for this level of contact, a good mix of team veterans and young emerging players has been found.
“The Pioneers is not designed as the pathway to the national team, and there will be plenty of opportunity for that in the future, but with the players who have been chosen for this specific game, I am certain we will see everyone giving it their all in an effort to impress the coaches who will be in attendance.
“It may not be official, but it is still an opportunity to prove they are ready, and any player would be crazy not to approach it with that in mind.”
Terrance Willams – Atlanta Rhinos
Mark Rusinski – Atlanta Rhinos
Nick Newlin – Atlanta Rhinos
Marcos Flegmann – Boston 13s
Ryan Forgione – Boston 13s
CJ Cortalano – Brooklyn Kings
Daniel Quispe – Brooklyn Kings
Sterling Wynn – Central Florida Warriors
Josh Jackson – Central Florida Warriors
Joe Eichner – Jacksonville Axemen
Richard Alleger – Jacksonville Axemen
Jonathan DeFau – Jacksonville Axemen
Steven Hill – Jacksonville Axemen
Tim Herff – Jacksonville Axemen
Kevin Wathen – Jacksonville Axemen
Taylor Alley – Jacksonville Axemen
Bryant Alexander – North Virginia Eagles
Kevin Wiggins – Philadelphia Fight
Daniel Gabrielli – Philadelphia Fight
Tristan Sylk – Philadelphia Fight
Jonathan St. John – Rhode Island Rebellion
Josh Heath – Tampa Mayhem
Dylan Beaver – Washington DC Slayers
Asa Jerald – Washington DC Slayers
Medical: Mary Slover and Dr. Alex Moore (Axemen)
Game/Event Coordinators: Daniel Johnson / Bob Knopefel / Drew Slover
The game will be played in Jacksonville on Sunday, January 11 and pre-sale tickets can be purchased for only $7.50.